Leanne Dyson, Bairnsdale

East Gippsland is a unique part of the world and I am the 4th generation of my family to have the privilege to call this place, home. Taking photographs of the beauty that is East Gippsland is not just passion, it is a habit.

Writing has always been one of my interests and during creative writing classes I discovered my natural ability to write poetry. My teacher and fellow writers encouraged me to consider publishing my poems, but I didn’t feel as confident as they did.

Darkness and Light 1, East Gippsland Pictures and Poems became a reality after I created a photobook of an overseas journey. The notion of amalgamating my two natural loves grew. By using the knowledge I’d acquired from working in the printing industry for 20 year, coupled with the photobook company’s software, my vast collection of images and my smaller collection of poetry, I managed to loosely marry my photos and poems, and finally self-publish my book.

The poems were inspired by a word or subject during writing class. My book’s title came from two of the poems, ‘Darkness’…Darkness doesn’t need the night, doesn’t even need a light. It doesn’t need a time of day or even deed a genre ray, and ‘Light’…Slithers of light pierce the dawn sky, heralding day, fare-welling the nigh. Dew drops on webs glisten like pearls in mountain shadow frost blankets fields.

I began displaying and sell my book at markets and in various local book and craft shops. I widened my range of products and created calendars, magnets, greeting cards and ceramic coasters, all depicting images from my book and more recently I have included my other love, birds.

My contribution to the Great Alpine Gallery’s Fire and Rain Exhibition in July 2019 was ‘Fire and Flood’. This book was born from the catastrophic fires which ravaged East Gippsland and many other places. My emotions poured out in ‘Scorched Soul’…Close your eyes, hold your breath, run like hell escape your death. Nightmare’s here all around, searing, branded, burnt to ground. An abridged version was selected for, ‘From the Embers’ which was a publication distributed to raise money for Blaze Aid. Over the years the area has also experienced significant flooding which I have photographed. I specifically wrote the flood poems for this this book.

I continue to take photos, write when possible, and let’s see what the future brings.